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How to Clean Up After a Flood

Floods can be devastating, leaving your home or business in ruins. In a matter of minutes, floodwaters can destroy carpets, furniture, drywall, and electrical systems. And the effects of flooding go beyond the physical damage to your property. In addition to the physical damage caused by floods, floodwaters can also contain sewage and other contaminants that can pose a serious health risk and make your home or business uninhabitable. 

The key to minimizing the damage is to act quickly and effectively during the flood cleanup process. While you’ll want to get started immediately on flood cleanup, you’ll also need to follow the proper protocols for your insurance agency to ensure an expedient claims process. It’s difficult to know what steps will reduce flood cleanup costs and interruption to your life or business. Here, the Nowell Agency shares some tips on how to clean up after a flood to ensure your insurance claim is fulfilled and you can resume normal life. After all, the sooner you get started on the road to recovery, the better.

Flood Cleanup Tips

The first steps after a flood should take place outside of the premises. Before going into your flood-damaged home or commercial property:

  • Call your flood insurance agency. Let your flood insurer know what has occurred and take pictures of the external damage. They will send a professional inspector to assess the situation and let you know if/when it is safe to enter. Once it’s safe to enter the building, you can take pictures of the contents of the home or business, as well as any structural damage. 
  • Turn off the gas, fuel, and electricity, if possible. Be very careful when doing this! If firefighters or other professionals are available, ask for help. Never touch any source of electricity if you’re standing in floodwater.
  • Assess the exterior structure of the building. If it seems that structural damage exists, do not enter, as it may collapse. In any case, it’s best to wait until a professional can assess the situation.
  • It’s best practice to assume that your water-damaged structure is unstable until you have further evidence to the contrary.
  • Wait for the inspector. Most likely, stairs, roofs, floors, and overhangs are unsafe. Don’t venture into the building until you have been cleared by an inspector to do so. 

Once you are allowed to enter the building by a professional inspector or your insurer, you may perform further cleanup techniques. Be sure to wear all protective personal clothing and equipment and call your flood insurance agency first to see what they allow you to do personally versus a professional flood restoration company

clean up after a flood

  • Inform your flood insurance agent of any damaged equipment, debris, or items that you will be removing.
  • Drain water from the structure slowly via a pump (and generator if no power is available or safe). Only remove water if the flood levels outside are lower than inside the structure.
  • Remove mud with a shovel or hose (unless there are contaminants in the mud, in which case, call a professional agency for removal and cleaning).
  • Open windows and doors to encourage drying and to ensure no gas leaks accumulate in the structure. You can use fans, dehumidifiers, and even industrial heaters if this is safe. 
  • Disinfect everything in the home or business with household cleaners. Clean water taps with bleach and let them run. 
  • Remove all electrical equipment, if you can do so while avoiding any equipment near water. Do not operate or test any equipment if water is still present or the equipment is wet. 

Best Flood Insurance Companies Near Me

While floods can be disastrous, they can also provide an opportunity for regeneration and rebuilding. With the proper flood insurance in place, you’ll be set up for success. Insurance for floods provides the funds necessary to repair, rebuild, or replace damage and disruption. An added benefit is that you can better protect against future floods when you repair or replace damaged elements of your structure. You will be able to create a silver lining out of misfortune when you have the right flood insurance coverage from Nowell Agency in place from the start! Contact us today to learn more about our affordable flood insurance policies and get a free online flood insurance quote!

 

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